Secondhand/used books are those that were owned by a person or group prior to purchase – in other words, they are books which were resold to their current owner. Secondhand books are often purchased at used book sales or flea markets, from library or church fundraiser sales, or on-line from websites like Amazon and eBay. They are also a staple of tag/garage/yard sales.

Unless they are a collectible or out-of-print, most secondhand books cost less than their new counterparts. Sometimes, secondhand books are more valuable than their newer counterparts due to their collectible status. This is especially true of first-editions and rare editions. In some cases, books can only be purchased secondhand since they are no longer in print.

Secondhand books come in six standard conditions used by sellers:

  • As New – same condition as when it left the publisher/seller
  • Fine – shows normal aging (like discoloration of page edges) but is not damaged in any way
  • Very Good – has visible but normal wear from use and no torn pages/covers
  • Good – average used book with normal "wear-and-tear," but all pages intact
  • Fair – all text pages and illustrations are present, but lacking endpapers or dust jacket
  • Poor – has complete text, but only to be used as bare minimum reading copy
Books considered to be in worse condition than "Poor" and generally not sold by secondhand dealers; in fact, "Very Good" is the minimum for most.

People buy secondhand books for many different reasons. For most, cost is a huge part of the reason, since buying secondhand saves money. Other people are interested in secondhand books for environmental reasons, since they allow for a convenient method of recycling. Some like the "personalization" that secondhand books carry with them; "margin note collectors" particularly like secondhand books, since they allow the new owner to see comments written on the pages by previous owners. For others, the thrill of "the hunt" for secondhand treasures is the main attraction.

Whatever the reason you may like secondhand books, this fanlisting is here for you to celebrate these special books.